Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Great Movie Scenes - Taxi Driver

There are three main reasons I started this web log (aka, "blog"):
  1. Whenever I bust my friends' chops for not updating their blogs, they come back with, "Well, you don't even have a blog anymore." Now they have no rejoinder, so they can either bow their e-heads in shame or get back on their butts and write another entry.
  2. I love reading other people's blogs. Ergo, the Golden Rule demands that I try to contribute something entertaining to our little e-community. I'm not limiting myself to a tight format like Top 5 Lists, so the lack of gimmickry will inevitably make this less popular for reasons that I can only guess at. (By the way, here's an interesting stat. While creating a link from my old blog to this one, I discovered that the site I abandoned a year ago still gets 200 hits a week. It'll be a long time before this blog gets even that popular, if it ever does. It'll be our little secret.)
  3. Third, I want to write an ongoing series of entries called "Great Movie Scenes" by combining the power of YouTube with my acute cinematographic eyeball.

So here we go. Taxi Driver. Travis Bickle. It's hard to call anyone a loveable psychopath, especially in light of the misfit who recently went on a killing spree at Virginia Tech, so let's just call Mr. Bickle likeably unstable. Upset about all the scummy low-lifes he sees on the streets, he's helpless, hapless, and utterly alone. In one great scene, Travis makes a stab at fitting in by taking a Senator's campaign worker on a date. Unfortunately, his idea of charming her – taking her to an X-rated movie – is pathetically unsuccessful. You don't know whether to laugh or cry. This leads to my favorite scene in the movie. Travis is sitting alone in his apartment watching American Bandstand while idly holding the barrel of a handgun near his forehead.


The loneliest character in the history of movies is not only watching television alone, but he's also watching young people dancing together to the Jackson Browne's song, "Late for the Sky." The American Bandstand clip is perfect, from the pan & zoom to the empty shoes lying on the floor to the black men dancing with white women during the racially charged 70s to the song's lyrics:

Awake again I can't pretend and I know I'm alone
And close to the end of the feeling we've known
How long have I been running for that morning flight
Through the whispered promises and the changing light
Of the bed where we both lie
Late for the sky

You know, there's just no place for a weirdo who despises weirdos. It's a perfect scene.

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